Judith Collins opens up on internal polling, blames leaked email from Denise Lee for drop in numbers

Judith Collins has opened up on National's internal polling and thrown one of her MPs under the bus in the process.

In a stand-up on Sunday, Collins revealed the devastating election result was a far cry from her party's internal polling. In Saturday night's general election, National lost to Labour by a landslide. The party had just 26.8 of the vote, translating to 35 seats in Parliament.

But Collins says internal polling once had her party at 39 to 40 percent.

"That was before the second lockdown - the second lockdown just went 'poof'," she said.

It wasn't just the lockdown making the numbers drop though - according to Collins a leaked email from National MP Denise Lee did a lot of damage too.

The email, which criticised Collins' plan to review Auckland Council, was leaked to Newshub in early October.

Lee described it as a "highly problematic idea" in an email to her caucus colleagues. She also panned it as "another working group" and said it would be "a nightmare".

In the email, Lee said bypassing her altogether was "incredibly poor form and displays a shockingly bad example of poor culture".

On Sunday Collins revealed the leak caused serious damage. 

"I'll tell you some secrets... that little leak that was out, cost us five points."

She refused to say whether Lee had let her down, saying "the whole thing will be dealt with in review".

"It was a tough campaign all the way through and the thing with adversity is it's a really good chance for people to step up and help the team and the vast majority of people did."